Sep 29

A book I look forward to reading

TaxProf Blog has a link to a book that seems to show that redistributive policies destroy jobs. The link at Tax Prof Blog goes to the New York Times and is for Casey B. Mulligan’s new book The Redistribution Recession.

A graph from the book is below. It shows that as the social safety net has become more generous during the past two presidential administrations, the hours worked by various income earners has decreased. Some of the loss of hours came from the recession, but the book seems to point that as the amount you get to keep for yourself (rather than paying in taxes) the less incentive there is to continue to work more hours.

Incentive to accumulate weath or earn an extra dollar

Work hours change from 2007 - 2010

I will look forward to reading this book and recommend it to my readers who want to see how tax policy will affect their lives. The various policies implemented in Washington not only directly affect take home pay, but will also affect an estate plan through the wealth transfer taxes (estate and gift taxation).

Sep 28

Seminar tentatively scheduled for Hollis

I have been in talks with the Hollis Civic Center and a local financial planner to have an Estate Planning seminar in Hollis, OK. I have two tenative dates for the citizens of Harmon County to come learn about wills, trusts, powers of attorney and other estate planning issues. We will also have a brief discussion of estate taxes and how the coming changes will affect farmers, mineral owners, and every resident of southwestern Oklahoma.

Right now, I am looking at Thursday, October 25th or Tuesday, October 30th. I am planning on two seminars on estate planning with a special presentation on investing in these volatile times. Please feel free to send me feedback on if one of these days will work better for you.

I look forward to expanding my practice in Hollis and Harmon County. I also look forward to seeing you all there.

Sep 27

Chart on where the “47%” live

Americans that pay no income tax or receive refundable rebates
This chart shows the state by state comparison of filers who pay no income tax

As you can see from this chart, all states have income tax “filers” who pay no income tax. This chart shows that most states have between 22% and 45% of filers that do not pay income tax.

Rather than disprove what candidate Romney said that the number of Americans not paying taxes (47%), in my opinion, this gives credence to his claim.
Although no state has 47% in this chart, it is important to note that it is based on people who actually file a tax return. Most low or no income households will not even file, so the percentages will actually be much higher when the sample is Americans versus filers.
Sep 25

Online accounts are assets for estate planning purposes

Something to think about as you move forward with your estate planning, is to remember your online accounts and your other “intangibles”. These items may be things that you access on a daily, monthly or only once in a blue moon basis, but if you do not have a plan for them, they could be lost.

What am I talking about here? Well, let me give you a personal example. I have an iTunes account through Apple. In my account, I have purchased a handful of songs. I have these songs stored on my computer, in my iPod, and on my old iPhone. In addition to the songs, I have a credit on my account for gift cards that I was given. All told, my moderate iTunes account has a value of around $150. This is moderate by many contemorary standards and I know of a few people that have purchased well over $1,000 in digital media.

If I do not leave my account and password to my successors in interest (the beneficiaries of my trust, or the legatees in my will), this value is completely lost and wasted. In an article I recently read, it states that at least 57% of people have not put any plan in place for passing their online property.

If you have an iTunes account, or a PayPal account, or any account where you have vested value, you need to remember it in your estate planning. All assets will have a value to someone. Your children, grandchildren, and maybe even great-grandchildren will want to be able to share in your choice of music and if you have the proper plan in place, this will allow it to be shared.

Sep 25

Oklahoma Tax Problems and IRS Solutions for Taxpayers

Oklahoma tax problem – IRS solutions for the taxpayers

Dealing with the Internal Revenue Service (or IRS) is a herculean task. One has to go through a series of complex procedures in order to settle his tax debt and other related issues. Moreover, the situation may become all the more frightening if the IRS has brought a wage garnishment judgment or slapped a levy against a tax debtor. But help is available, delinquent taxpayers can opt for a debt management plan, based on their financial status, provided by the IRS, in order to help out struggling taxpayers.

Options to get out of tax debt

Here are the debt relief options for the delinquent taxpayers of Oklahoma to repay their taxes and solve their tax problems:

1)      Currently Not Collectible – Taxpayers who are struggling to make ends meet due to financial hardship like unemployment or reduced income can apply for a Currently Not Collectible or CNC status to the IRS. To qualify, the SOL (statute of limitation) should be nearing its end for the taxpayers to be eligible for this program. As per the IRS rule, taxpayers with CNC status should own some valuable assets, notwithstanding the fact that they have low monthly income. Under the CNC program, IRS promises to defer from any sort of collection effort from the taxpayers until their financial conditions improve. However, the IRS may liquidate some assets of the taxpayers before approving their CNC application.

2)      Offer in Compromise – This is the best debt relief program of the IRS. Taxpayers who qualify because of doubt as to collectability or tax liability can approach the IRS for a tax reduction. The IRS conducts a test in order to confirm the financial instability of the person to make the tax payments. The test evaluates a person’s monthly household income, IRS approved living allowance and the properties owned by the taxpayers. If the tests are met, then the IRS will reduce the assessment based on what the taxpayer can afford.

3)      Garnishment and levy relief – The IRS may bring a wage garnishment judgment against tax debtors in order to collect outstanding taxes from them. Moreover, tax levies enable the IRS to seize the properties of the delinquent taxpayers in order to fulfill its tax demands. Because the assessment is ordered by a court, people suffering from wage garnishment/levy usually seek the help of a tax attorney in order to appeal to the IRS for a release, in order to protect their properties and income.

4)      Tax lien relief – The IRS notifies delinquent taxpayers about an impending property lien to be slapped on their properties. A tax lien notice is sent 10 days prior to executing the order. Once a tax lien has been slapped on a property, the owner cannot sell the property. Moreover, it can harm one’s credit score, as well. Therefore, taxpayers should consult a tax attorney and take appropriate legal steps in order to discharge the tax lien from their property.

There are several more tax debt relief options in order to bailout struggling taxpayers. For instance, taxpayers  can request a waiver of their tax penalties and some interest expenses charged by filing a petition to the IRS to grant relief and help them to make only the tax payments.

This Article was submitted by Patricia Garner. Ms. Garner is an Associate Editor with oak View Law Group. She has been writing on financial topics over the years with special focus on American and European economy. Patricia also takes interest in debt related issues and contributes articles on debt-management to personal finance blogs. (Note: Edited to remove hyperlink.)